Best Pens for Colouring in Adult Coloring Books and Coloring Pages

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Coloring is a great way to relax and focus, but it can be hard to find the right pen.

Some pens bleed through the page or dry out quickly. Other pens don’t have enough ink for complex coloring pages. Still, other pens leave your hands stained with color after you’re done drawing. 

We’ve made a list of the best pens for colouring. Use them in your favorite adult coloring books, on printed pages, your own drawn artwork, and more. The best coloring pens are the ones that make your art pop off the page with vivid color. These are our top pics for the best coloring pens and markers.


Best Colouring Pens

Browse through our top picks for the best coloring pens available. Pens that offer vibrant colors, smooth application, and long-lasting performance like Copic Markers. Dual ends mean fine-tip precision to brush-like strokes, find the perfect set for your creative projects. If you are working on more detailed coloring, pens like Steadler might be your choice.

Glossary of terms for the types of pens for coloring:

  • Fineliners – Very fine-tipped pens, usually 0.3-0.4mm. Used for very small spaces not for coloring large spaces on a page. Popular brands: Staedtler Triplus, Stabilo.
  • Water-based pens- This type of ink does not bleed through most papers and is ideal for double-sided books (always check first as paper quality varies). The ink in water-based pens doesn’t blend as well and can look streaky. Water-based pens are cheaper than other inks. Popular brands: Staedtler Triplus, Tombow, Crayola Supertips.
  • Alcohol-based pens- This ink will bleed heavily through most papers but has excellent blending capability and colour range. Crafters use these types of pens as they give seamless color, blend really well, and don’t streak. Popular brands: Spectrum Noir, Promarker, Copic, Touch, Chameleon
  • Gel pens- Gel ink. Lays down thickly on the paper and has to be left to dry otherwise it may have some smearing. There are so many different types of gel ink and they are widely available. Popular brands: Uniball Signo, Sakura Gelly Roll.
  • Open Stock pens- This means buying a single pen on its own, rather than in a set. If you are unsure of a type of pen, you can try a few open stock pens (especially the more expensive pen bands) before purchasing a whole set.

What are the Best Pens for Coloring?

The list below will tell you about some of the best pens for colouring. There are always variables and options, based on your paper of choice, the amount of space you are covering, and your overall preference in a pen. Take some time to test out some open stock pens and see if you really like them before you invest in an expensive set. Once you find the best pen for coloring your preferred art, you will be so happy you took the time to research the best pen.

Best Pens To Color With

The best pens to color with are those specifically designed for coloring. These pens typically have vibrant and blendable ink, fine tips for intricate details, and are non-toxic. Some popular options include Prismacolor Premier, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, and Tombow Dual Brush Pens. Experiment with different brands to find the pens that suit your coloring style best.

These Pens and Markers Don’t BLEED in Your Adult Coloring Books

If you’re looking for pens that don’t bleed through the pages of your coloring books, pens for colouring will probably be your best option. Read on to find the best adult coloring markers and pens.

Water-based pens resist bleeding through but may not cover large surfaces evenly. Alcohol pens will cover larger surfaces well, but they can take a while to dry and will bleed through your paper (not ideal for double-sided coloring pages).

Brush Pitt Pens by Faber-Castell

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Pitt “Artist Pens” really are that – an artist pen. These are not kid’s magic markers. The colors are beautiful and this 24 count box is a fairly comprehensive set, but there are also sets containing only grays (and they are gorgeous – from warm beigy grays to cool misty ones), and sets specifically for landscape and portrait, with more specific colors.

Staedtler Markers Set of 20

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This set of pens for coloring is especially great because they match the colouring pencils that are also made by Staedtler. If you draw a picture in coloured pencil and want to make it bolder you can use the coloring pens to trace over it felt tip. There is a wide variety of shades of colors that ensures that you get the right shade you are looking for.

Stabilo 88 Marker Pens

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These are great for coloring in a bullet journal and the small size of the markers makes them convenient to carry I really love the size of the tips on these markers. They make it so much easier to color a straight thin line. You can blend a little with these markers. These particular markers are not meant for large areas that just need filling in. They are better used on the higher detailed areas or as the accent or blender color.

Best Fineliner Pens For Coloring

Remember that everyone’s preferences can vary, so it’s a good idea to try out a few different options and see which fineliner pens feel most comfortable and suitable for your coloring style and projects. Here’s a list of the top 3 choices for fineliner pens for coloring.

  1. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner: These pens are highly regarded for their precision and vibrant colors. Their fine tips make them perfect for intricate coloring work, such as filling in small spaces and adding details. The ink is water-based and doesn’t bleed through most papers, which is great for adult coloring books and other intricate designs.
  2. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens: Faber-Castell’s fineliners offer a fantastic range of colors and have archival-quality, pigmented ink that’s resistant to fading. They’re ideal for coloring projects that you want to preserve over time. The fine tips allow for precise coloring, and the ink is water-resistant, making it suitable for mixed-media projects as well.
  3. Sakura Pigma Micron: While primarily known for their use in technical drawing and illustration, Sakura Pigma Micron pens are also excellent for coloring. They come in a variety of tip sizes, allowing you to choose the level of detail you want to achieve. The archival-quality ink is waterproof, fade-resistant, and doesn’t bleed through paper, making it a great option for coloring intricate designs.

Best Felt Tip Pens For Colouring

The best felt tip pens for coloring are perfect for unleashing your creativity. With vibrant colors, smooth ink flow, and durable tips, these pens offer an unmatched coloring experience. Whether you’re a professional artist or simply enjoy coloring as a hobby, these pens are a must-have addition to your collection.

When it comes to choosing the best felt tip pens for coloring, there are several factors to consider including color variety, ink quality, durability, and ease of use. Here’s a list of the top 3 types of felt tip pens that are popular among artists and coloring enthusiasts:

  1. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner: Known for its fine, precise lines and vibrant colors, these pens are great for intricate coloring and detailing.
  2. Tombow Dual Brush Pens: These pens have a flexible brush tip on one end for blending and a fine tip on the other for detailing, making them versatile for both coloring and lettering.
  3. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens: These pens come in a wide range of colors and feature high-quality pigmented ink that is resistant to water and fading.

Affordable Pens for Colouring and Markers for Adult Coloring Books

You don’t have to buy huge pen collections that will break the bank. There are a number of affordable pen types that you can use for your coloring activities and still create vivid beautiful works of art.

Water-based pens are usually less expensive than other types of pens for coloring books. Alcohol pens tend to be more pricey, but you can buy pens in bulk at a lower cost per pen or you can buy them as single stock and just choose your most used colors.

Best Markers For Coloring

The best markers for coloring are ones that are highly pigmented, have a smooth and even flow, and offer a wide color range. Popular options include Copic Markers, Prismacolor Premier, and Tombow Dual Brush Pens. These markers provide vibrant and blendable colors, making them ideal for various coloring projects.

Crayola Bold Line Markers

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Crayola Broad Line Markers have sturdy conical tips that make them ideal for a variety of classroom and group art projects. Great for coloring in large areas, these markers also work well for drawing thin lines or dots. Broad-line markers lay down plenty of color and won’t smudge or bleed through paper.

Crayola Supertip Markers

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Nice colors, doesn’t bleed through (unless you really go back and forth). Great for hand lettering because you can have thick and thin lines, however, it cannot be compared to other expensive brand markers out there because the tips are not soft tips, so you need some time to master it. Not only nice for kids but also great for artists, whether you are a beginner or intermediate.

Best Gel Pens For Coloring

Looking for the best gel pens for coloring? Look no further. Gel pens offer vibrant and smooth colors, making them perfect for adult coloring books or detailed artwork. Check out our top recommendations for the best gel pens for coloring enthusiasts of all skill levels.

  1. Sakura Gelly Roll: Sakura’s Gelly Roll pens are renowned for their smooth, creamy gel ink that comes in a wide range of vibrant colors. They offer various tip sizes, including fine, medium, and bold, allowing for both detailed coloring and broader strokes. These pens are known for their consistent flow and archival-quality ink that resists fading.
  2. Uni-ball Signo Gel Pens: Uni-ball Signo gel pens are known for their strong pigmentation and smooth ink flow. They come in a variety of colors and tip sizes, offering options for detailed coloring as well as more substantial coverage. The ink is water-resistant and fade-resistant, making it suitable for coloring projects that you want to preserve.
  3. Pilot G2 Gel Pens: While often used for writing, Pilot G2 gel pens are also great for coloring. They come in a variety of colors and tip sizes, with a smooth gel ink that glides effortlessly on paper. These pens are comfortable to hold and allow for both fine lines and broader strokes, making them versatile for different coloring techniques.

Best Markers and Pens for Drawing, Doodling, and Coloring

Markers and pens make your coloring pop with vibrant color! Pens for coloring come in a huge variety of brands and styles, so it can be hard to decide which pens are the best pens for drawing, doodling, and coloring. Read on to learn about pens that stand out as the best for your creative doodles.

Arteza Watercolor Brush Pens

Endless Creative Options: Use your Arteza Paint Brush Pens with water to create delicate watercolor effects. Or, use without water for dry-brush painting, sketching, coloring, calligraphy & more.

Caliart Marker Set

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These markers lay down so smoothly, and they blend like a dream once you get the hang of it. The trick really is to work quickly to blend, as they blend very nicely when still wet.

Chameleon Pens

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This set is an excellent value. You get 52 pens but when you use each pen it gives you so many shades that you actually have the benefit of so many more colors, giving a vast palette from which to create art. The quality of the product is excellent and the added bonus of extra nibs and tweezers is something I have never seen with other alcohol pens.

Copic markers

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Its pricey. We all know that. Is it worth it? Hell yeah. There is just no comparison to anything else. Copics are true to color (more natural) and they don’t bleed much, you also get a better range in colors and shades with Copic. They aren’t clunky either like Ohuhu. Costly, but definitely worth it.

Faber-Castell Pitt Pens

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These are great even as a newer artist. You will not disappointed! Some colorists feel that they will be too difficult and technical. But they are very easy to use, even for beginners. The colors are great and the tips slide super well on the paper.

Ohuhu Art Markers Dual Tips

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Ohuhu consistently holds up as the best alternative to Copics. This case has so many markers for a great price. The brush tips work amazingly well. It blends and layers perfectly. The colours are vibrant. It’s perfect.

Papermate Flair Felt Tip Pens

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I love the colors that these Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens come in. They write beautifully and the colors are very generous. I use them on my work planner, my desk planner and my budget/finances planner and I could not be happier. If you do use very thin paper it may bleed through and if you leave the pen top just a tad open it will dry out fairly quickly. 

Prismacolor Art Markers

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The markers have double ends which is great for finer details (although I almost wish the fine point side was slightly finer) and also great for large areas you want the same color. I would reccommend these colors to any academic or mid-level artist who is on a relatively low budget.

Reaeon Gel Pens for Coloring Books

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The variety of colors is fantastic. The pens color very smoothly you dont have to constantly shake the pen to get the gel ink to flow. This also came with refills and they trays are numbered so you know which refill goes to each pen. An EXCELLENT value for the money for great gel pens.

Sakura Koi Assorted Coloring Brush Pen Set

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These are a really good value, they’re easy to blend and don’t bleed or saturate the paper easily. When using them with micron pigment liners, they don’t pick up the black ink or cause it to bleed.

Sharpie Permanent Markers

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Are sharpie pens good for colouring? You betcha!

I bought this during a one-day sale, specifically because Sharpies can be expensive and who doesn’t want to go back to the childhood days of buying 64ct boxes of Crayola… except with the adult version, which is Sharpies. The box includes a variety of assortments, such as fine and ultra-fine tips, and also has those coveted metallic Sharpies included in the set.

Shuttle Art 120 Unique Colors Gel Pens

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Incredibly easy to use on paper.. the ballpoint is so smooth and not scratchy. The choice of colours is incredible. 

Soucolor Dual Tip Brush Markers Pens

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The pens write smoothly with vibrant colors and the ultra fine-tip pens are a great feature.
These would be perfect for journaling or art projects. Even with a very cheap brand of copy paper, neither side of the pen bleeds through.

Spectrum Noir

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Markers are terrific! Beautiful, rich colors. A must for colorists and crafters.

Steadtler Triplus Fineliner

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There is some bleed through on thin papers, such as the sheets in that particular journal. The pens are shaped with three angles; as someone with joint problems, this extremely helpful in minimizing pain when writing. This function also helps the pens click back into the container. The container’s lid has a pop-back function that lets you stand the entire case upright, for easy organization while you write. They are made very well.

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

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They are great for what I use them for, which is just coloring and drawing. The range of colors is fantastic, and they seem to be lasting pretty well (I’ve had them for about 6-1/2 months). I would deduct 1/2 star for the quality of the nylon tips…some of my markers that I use the most frequently have gotten to be very fuzzy at the end, which is most disappointing.

What to Look for When Buying Markers for Adult Coloring Books

Here’s what you should look for when searching for the best pens and markers to color with.

Pens may be water-based, alcohol, gel, or hybrid inks. Some pen types work better with certain paper types than others. Make sure to test different pens before using them on a project (especially if the ink is light) as some pens will smudge.

So, what types of pens are considered the best pens for coloring books? In general, gel and alcohol-based pens work well with very fine details and smooth coverage on your page. You can also blend colors from one color family to another with these pen types.

Water-Based Pens:

Water-based pens and markers lay down well and can be used on both sides of a page, but you might find that they don’t blend as well. They may also have a tendency to make your paper pull up or pill when the paper gets oversaturated.

These types of pens are water-soluble, so they’re great for coloring books with double-sided pages (just remember to test the pen first). Water-based pens don’t contain hazardous materials like alcohol or shellac.

Alcohol-Based Pens:

Alcohol-based pens cover larger areas well and blend easily. They will dry quickly, they blend beautifully, and they are great for creating shading. If you want the best art pens for coloring books, alcohol-based is your go-to.

The only drawback to alcohol-based coloring is that it will bleed into the paper. This is what enables the inks to blend so well. But it makes it so you will not be able to color on pages that are printed double-sided without ruining one side.

Gel Pens:

Almost all gel pens are water-resistant once they have dried on the page–a great choice for double-sided coloring pages! Gel pens lay down opaque color on most types of paper, including non-porous materials like glossy pictures/photos/paintings that don’t absorb ink well. However, some colorists find that gel pen ink can be slow to dry on certain papers or on top of certain inks (for example, on glossy black paper).

Gel pens come in a wide variety of tip widths. If you want to get the best pen for coloring books, look for thicker-tipped gel pens over .3mm or .5mm–too thin and they can tear through some types of paper. Gel pens are some of the best drawing pens for adults because they lay down smooth color with little to no drag while writing on most types of paper.

Hybrid Pens:

Hybrid ink is made up of pigments suspended in water or oil–this type of pen lays down color very smoothly and can cover large spaces without bleeding through your pages. You will need fixative if you’re using Hybrid inks for your coloring books.

Sharpie(R) Permanent Markers:

That’s right–our beloved Sharpie is one of the best pens for drawing and coloring. They’re available in a wide variety of tip sizes, they don’t bleed through paper, they blend together very well, and they dry quickly without smearing. Just make sure you get an alcohol-based permanent marker rather than their water-based ones!

Other Important Factors to Consider when buying coloring pens

Price:   Pens for coloring books can cost anywhere from $1/pack to more than $30/pack. Typically, pens designed specifically for art tend to be pricier (quality matters).

Permanence: Pens with erasable ink are also on the market. Sometimes after you’ve finished your project, you may want to go back and make corrections. These pens allow you to do exactly that!

Packaging:  Consider packaging when buying markers for your adult coloring books–you don’t want to accidentally buy something that will dry out before you have a chance to use it all up! Pen sets are great because they aren’t exposed to air as much, so they tend to last longer.

Ease of use:  Rather than trying out every pen on the market, look for the best pen for adult coloring books that matches your needs. Different materials will work better with different pens–that’s normal! Just pick the one that yields the results you’re looking for in terms of color quality and ease of application when using it on your coloring book pages.

Your likes and dislikes:  Finally, consider your preferences when shopping for a marker or pen to use with your next adult coloring book project. For instance, if you have a specific color family that you prefer not to mix yourself (like reds or blues), buy a set that has those colors so you’ll be prepared for any coloring book page that comes your way. You can also consider how easy the pens are to hold and apply pressure with.

Type of paper:   The best pens for adult coloring books will behave differently on different types of paper. Consider the absorbency factor of the type of paper you’re buying when buying coloring pens. If you like to color on thinner paper or print on both sides of your pages, you won’t want to use an alcohol-based pen or marker.

Paper weight:  If you like heavier paper like card stock or watercolor, make sure that the marker or pen you choose doesn’t bleed through (some do). Some pens and markers, such as alcohol-based Sharpies, are more likely to bleed through the paper because they’re specifically made to lay down thick lines–so keep that in mind when shopping. If you like working on midweight papers (like printer or sketching paper), wide-tipped pens can be easier to work with.

Coloring book size:    Consider the size of your coloring book pages when looking for pens and markers. Wide-tipped pens can be better than thin ones for covering bigger spaces–especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of time refilling/reloading your pen with ink during your color session!

Time constraints:   How much time do you have to color? Pens that dry quickly are especially useful if you have time constraints on your coloring projects. Alcohol-based pens tend to be the fastest drying. Gel pens take a long time to dry and you won’t be able to work on your coloring if there is a large section that you might drag your hand through.

Resolution/detail needed:  If you want the best pen for adult coloring books, consider how much detail you need on each page. Gel pens are great for drawing fine details, but only alcohol-based markers will lay down thick lines perfect for filling in large areas of color. Think about what types of images patterns you’ll want to color in your pages when choosing pens.

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One Comment

  1. I used to buy inexpensive markers for kids, assuming it wouldn’t make a difference. But when I did use the finest adult coloring book markers, I was surprised at how much better the results were.

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